About 4 years ago my old company GDC hosted the first meeting of the OGC UK Forum. The great and the good of the UK GI indudtry turned up for a couple of hours discussion and some drinks and networking.
4 years on I am sitting in on a Forum meeting at UCL. Not sure that a lot has changed. The mix of delegates is from academia, government departments (several INSPIRE people) and agencies and a few companies who view geospatial interoperability and standards as core to their business. The discussion was around the objectives of the forum and inevitably about funding and resources.
There seem to be two separate functions for the OGC in the UK (or indeed all of its regional forums) – to develop and test standards that facilitate interoperability and to promote the adoption of those standards.
The participants appear more comfortable with the technical side rather than with outreach. There is a lack of understanding as to who the forum should be targeting and why those people would want to engage with OGC. Ultimately OGC serves the interests of its members and inevitably those providing principal funding have the biggest influence. There are few if any people here today representing the people and organisations who could benefit from interoperabililty and standards.
OGC standards are important to government and academia to support the fusion and cross organisational use of data. Some of the applications seem rather arcane to a mere mortal like me. I wonder whether these standards are actually helping to lock up these vast archives of complex public sector data assets in a technically and standards driven walled garden that makes it more difficult rather than easier for the rest of the GeoCommunity to connect to the data?
If they don’t solve this problem they may find themselves being bypassed by de facto standards and services evolving within the wider community.